Voters say yes to Easy Rider levy

PARKERSBURG – The Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority’s Easy Rider bus levy, which will provide funding for fiscal 2016 and 2017, was approved by a large margin in Tuesday’s primary election, according to the unofficial tally from the Wood County Clerk.

Parkersburg citizens voted 2,323 for and 679 against renewing the Easy Rider levy. This was an approval of 77.38 percent of the vote.

In Vienna, 1,310 voted for and 316 voted against the levy. This was an approval of 80.57 percent of the vote.

The levy will generate up to $1,881,779 from Parkersburg and up to $806,476 from Vienna over the next two years.

The bus service is more important to the community than people realize, said Belinda Fetty, president of the transit authority board.

“When businesses come into a community, one of the things they always ask is what type of transit is available to the residents,” Fetty said. “This shows how important the bus system is to the growth of our community.”

Passage of the levy provides the funds needed by the authority to operate in Parkersburg and Vienna over the next two years, said General Manager Tim Thomas.

“We are happy to be able to continue operating the transit system in the area for the next two years,” Thomas said. “We want to thank the voters for their support in the election, and we look forward to continuing to provide years of quality service in Parkersburg and Vienna.”

Easy Rider serves people from all walks of life, to and from work, to medical appointments, shopping and other activities throughout the two cities, Thomas said.

“With more people leaving their cars parked because of the high gas prices, our service will continue to become more popular,” Thomas said.

Studies across the United States have shown cities with transit systems always thrive above those without bus systems, Thomas said.

“We look forward to continuing to offer the safety and service that we are known for,” Thomas said.

The transit authority recently won the Gold Award for Bus Safety and Security by the American Public Transportation Association, Thomas said.

“Our system is so safe that they are thinking of implementing it nation-wide for transit systems under 4 million riders,” Thomas said.

The authority will continue to expand in the area over the next two years, including new bus routes and hours, as well as through programs designed to assist new bus riders, Thomas said.